McPherson Sangiovese 2014

Light ruby color with translucency; black cherry, raspberry, clay on the nose; black cherry, cola, licorice, raspberry, some blackberry on the palate.

This is delicious wine; it is not Chianti with a Texas drawl, it is what sangiovese tastes like with Texas High Plains terroir, which is similar but certainly different. Very smooth and easy drinking, subdued tannin and acidity (although it has elements of both), significantly nice texture in the mouth. No surprise, another well conceived McPherson offering.

Texas is not California or France, certainly not Germany. Texas vineyards are more like Tuscany, certainly more like Spain, southern Italy, and other hotter wine regions. The grapes Texas growers are learning to love include sangiovese, mourvèdre, tempranillo, vermentino, viognier, roussanne, and tannat. Some of those are familiar names, although you likely know sangiovese as “Chianti” or one of the grapes in “Super Tuscan.” You know mourvèdre as the “M” in a southern Rhône or Australian GSM (grenache, syrah, mourvèdre) blend. You may know the others as blending grapes. Doesn’t matter. Texas will figure out what vines deliver distinctive quality in the Lone Star State in due time, but the state has only been seriously pursuing this for 40 years or so. Other regions in the world have been working on it for 4,000 years. Wine takes time.

Winemaker Kim McPherson is one of the clear leaders in the unfolding Texas wine story. He is the son of Dr. Clinton “Doc” McPherson, one of the founders of the Texas wine industry. In 1976, Doc—a chemistry professor at Texas Tech—and Bob Reed founded the Llano Estacado Winery in Lubbock, one the first post-Prohibition wineries in Texas. Doc’s son, Kim, graduated from Texas Tech with a food science degree, then graduated from the enology and viticulture program at Cal-Davis (pretty much the Harvard-Yale of wine universities). His daddy clearly inspired Kim, and we can all thank Doc for that.

Kim worked at Llano Estacado, then Cap*Rock until starting his own label in 2000. In 2008, he converted a 1930s-era Coca Cola bottling plant into a winery in downtown Lubbock; that is where this wine is made using Texas-grown grapes.

McPherson Sangiovese 2014 is a smooth, palate-pleasing easy sipper. It is not complex or challenging, rather it is fun to drink and should please a range of tastes and sophistications—there is nothing to dislike. It also is responsibility priced, something that sometimes get lost among the 300-plus Texas wine makers. Clearly worthy of a cork pull at your table. God bless Texas. $12-15

McPherson Cellars website

Other photos: Kim McPherson, McPherson vineyard, McPherson winery

McPherson Sangiovese 2014
McPherson vineyard
McPherson Cellars